HEAC Six Communities
When communities take action --
the food and physical activity environment changes
HEAC community partnerships in low-income communities have made a big difference in the environments where children live, with a variety of different projects in multiple sectors, within the HEAC framework. At each HEAC location, three funded partners – the local health department, a community based organization, and a school district – came together as equals, and formed the basis of the community coalition. They worked together to make change in all the sectors that affect children’s daily lives.
Here is a sampling of ways that California HEAC communities have changed the food and physical activity environment, to improve community health and reduce obesity.
[Watch for updates of accomplishments.]
Baldwin Park HEAC made it their mission to improve Baldwin Park’s physical activity and food environment for local children, of whom one in three is overweight. For every supermarket or farmers market, Baldwin Park has six corner-stores and liquor stores, far exceeding the state ratio of 1:4. With a young population, Baldwin Park HEAC made cultivating youth advocates a centerpiece of their strategy, along with developing strong relationships with local government officials.
- Developed youth Photovoice after school project, guiding youth in the process of using photography as a tool for identifying what needed changing, and successfully advocating for change.
- Teens made presentations to City Council and School Board to successfully bring healthy food to school cafeterias and ban junk food.
- Baldwin Park passed the first city ordinance in California to ensure that in city-sponsored youth facilities, 100% of foods and beverages sold must comply with State nutrition standards required for schools (S.B. 12 and S.B. 965)
- Eight businesses participated in makeovers, including a new “Healthy Selection” market niche that could bring in more customers.
- Businesses were featured in a marketing campaign with free ads and signage
With few open spaces for children to play in East Oakland, the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) is coordinating the Oakland Schoolyard Initiative (OSI), inspired by the success of a similar public-private partnership that revitalized schoolyards in Boston. Oakland HEAC has worked to make schools a centerpiece of neighborhood life, and to make these schools havens of healthy food offerings, and access to physical activity. Oakland HEAC also worked with local hospitals to make significant changes in the hospital food environment.
- At 4 pilot schools (out of 10 target schools), the transformation of schoolyards into enhanced recreational, learning and garden spaces is now underway. One yard is completed, one is under construction and two are awaiting funding.
- Farm stands created at two schools have been embraced, and link to after school programming, as well as to community-led farming.
- School breakfasts and lunches have been transformed to be healthier and more appealing to students at an Oakland high school, and popular new physical activity classes were introduced.
- One Oakland hospital created a farm box program, where regular priced boxes for staff subsidize low cost boxes of vegetables for low income patients; another transformed its cafeteria offerings.
Five high school students who had happy childhood memories of the neighborhood Lauderbach Park took action to reverse its decline. The park had been taken over by gangs, prostitution, drugs, alcohol, litter and graffiti, and community members no longer felt safe allowing their children to play there. The students launched a coordinated effort to make concrete improvements and make the park a safer, more hospitable place. The coalition’s efforts centered around transforming the park’s built environment based on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), which discourages criminal behavior while encouraging people to “keep an eye out” for each other.
Basic training in leadership development and policy advocacy Interviews of residents to identify “hot spots” within and around the park
Worked in collaboration with local promatoras (Spanish-speaking health promoters, who mentored the teens)
Invited city officials, representatives from Police, Public Health, Parks and Recreation, to attend a public meeting in the park to listen to neighbors’ concerns Presented a wish list of park improvements to the City Council
A tall, overgrown chain-link fence was removed and replaced by a low, transparent one
Proudly designed “by Latinos for Latinos,” the largest ethnic grocery chain in Orange County, Northgate Gonzales Markets, unveiled a Viva la Salud program for consumers and employees.
The community collaboration launched by HEAC in Santa Ana, near the Anaheim headquarters of Northgate Markets, supported a kick-off event at the chain’s 30 stores, including cooking demonstrations and health assessments.
- Santa Ana HEAC Collaborative partners participated in the Santa Ana Viva la Salud events.
- Multiple Viva la Salud events included food demonstrations on preparing healthy and tasty meals. Viva la Salud provided health screenings and educational workshops.
- Northgate Markets continued to launch Viva la Salud community events through Fall 09.
- The store chain provided a land parcel for a park to be located in the Santa Ana HEAC community.
- Northgate Markets has expressed interest in getting involved as a sponsor for events at schools and in the community.
- The Salud con Sabor menu-labeling initiative has enrolled 100% of restaurants through relationship-building, and displays food values at the point of purchase.
- The Salud con Sabor menu labeling initiative is now a national model.
- The program was featured at the Childhood Obesity Conference (Los Angeles, June 09) and the Society for Nutrition Education Conference (New Orleans, July 09).
- Salud con Sabor is a public-private partnership between restaurant owners at the Mercado La Paloma (private for-profit establishment), Esperanza Community Housing Corporation (private non-profit organization), NEW Health Consultants (private registered dietitian consultant), and the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health (South LA Healthy Eating Active Communities, Nutrition Program).
- Relationship-building and promotion of the benefits of menu labeling as an obesity reduction tool.
- Over 600 recipes (across 7 vendors) analyzed for nutritional content (calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium, fiber, carbohydrates)
- Temporary menu boards and brochures to be displayed at point of purchase were developed and located at each restaurant; new permanent menu boards show calorie information for all regular items.
- Media event to launch the SmartMenu Program at Mercado La Paloma, in April 2009.
- Permanent menu boards were installed as part of the menu labeling project La Salud Tiene Sabor/Smart Menu at Mercado la Paloma.
- HEAC was asked to present on the menu labeling project at two conferences: the Childhood Obesity Conference (Los Angeles, June 09) and the Society for Nutrition Education Conference (New Orleans, July 09).
- South Shasta Community Visioning Project: Rural Happy Valley & Cottonwood Residents Get Involved “How Shall We Grow” is the question that the South Shasta HEAC Collaborative asked, in a series of workshops that drew hundreds of residents of these rural communities.
- Facilitated by the Local Government Commission and spurred by the HEAC collaborative partners – Shasta County Public Health Department, Anderson Partnership for Healthy Children, South Shasta Consortium of Schools and Cottonwood Park Board -- these workshops looked at what makes a healthy community, and became a widely-appreciated focus of discussion.
- Named by the local paper as one of the top 10 stories of 2008, the visioning sessions considered residents’ values and priorities in planning for the future growth of the community.
- The story in the local press reported strong community interest in “village centers, affordable homes, schools, community places, parks, green space and walkable/bikeable neighborhoods.”
- 83 people attended the first visioning meeting in January 2008
- 140 community members and 180 high school students have taken part in the visioning process Shasta County Planning Department.
- County sked the developer of a proposed Walgreens in Cottonwood to speak to the Cottonwood visioning group about their plans before submitting plans to the County
- The developer spoke to Cottonwood residents and after the plans were submitted the County sent a copy to the Cottonwood group for additional input and comments
- The Community Vision report for Happy Valley and Cottonwood was presented to the Board of Supervisors on September 22, 2009.
- With the goal of getting community input at the beginning of projects instead of at the end, a new Community Advisory Board in Cottonwood was established to work with their County Supervisor and County Planning agency.
- The visioning process is a great foundation for community input into the upcoming General Plan update. A Community Advisory Board is planned for Happy Valley, where the new County Supervisor has been very supportive of the concept.